Apologies to all those of you who read this regularly. Due to large amounts of stress, I will only be publishing a new entry to this blog once a week, on Sundays. Now, on to 2 Nephi 16.
Isaiah tells us that the year king Uzziah died (about 773 BC) he had a vision. In it, he saw the Lord sitting on a throne set on high and, “his train filled the temple,” which is a reference to his royal robe. Above this he saw a number of what he calls “seraphim” which, to most people the world over calls to mind either angels or Cupid. There are a fair number of these above the Lord and each have six wings; one pair covering each face, one pair covering each pair of feet, and one pair enabling flight. One of these spoke to another. “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts,” he said, “the whole earth is full of his glory.” As soon as this seraph spoke, the posts of the door moved and the house filled with smoke.
At this Isaiah felt very uncomfortable, being a fallible human who had made a number of mistakes and, by the law of Moses, was therefore unclean. Judging by his comment of having “unclean lips,” I’m betting that he had said a number of things he probably shouldn’t have said. Anyway, Isaiah believed he was about to be struck down for viewing the Lord of Hosts while in this unclean state. When Isaiah made his comment about being unclean, a seraph took a live coal from the altar with tongs and touched it to Isaiah’s mouth, declaring that his sin was removed.
Then the Lord asked who would “go for us.” Unhesitant, Isaiah spoke up, requesting to be sent. The Lord’s commandment? Isaiah was to go and tell the people “Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed but they perceived not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes—lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts and be converted and be healed.” Isaiah wanted to know how long he would need to say these things. The Lord’s reply, until the cities and houses are destroyed and all the people are either dead or gone for, says he, “there shall be a great forsaking in the land.” However, later, a tenth shall return.
I found translating the Lord’s commanded pronouncement particularly interesting. Particularly the first sentence. “Hear ye indeed, but they understood not; and see ye indeed but they perceived not.” It’s interesting because quite often we hear just fine but don’t understand what we heard, or we see just fine but don’t perceive at all. The main reason for this isn’t that our eyes and ears aren’t working but that we, ourselves, aren’t paying any attention or giving any thought to what we are seeing and hearing. Understandably, the Lord is feeling frustrated. Wouldn’t you if you were trying to warn someone that their behavior was going to get them into trouble?